The public will have to wait another 2? months before hearing the evidence against three men accused of a triple homicide near Forestville.
A judge Thursday granted a defense motion to postpone a scheduled Aug. 13 preliminary hearing until Oct. 1 to give attorneys for one of the men more time to collect and review police reports.
But the delay didn't come without reservations from Judge Robert LaForge, who cleared his calendar for the estimated daylong hearing. He told both sides to give more notice before requesting future continuances.
"I certainly was ready to do this on the 13th," LaForge said in open court.
Colorado residents Mark Cappello, 46, and Odin Dwyer, 38, and Dwyer's father Francis Dwyer, 65, of New Mexico are charged with murder in the Feb. 5 slayings at a rural cabin on Ross Station Road.
Prosecutors said the killings happened during a marijuana deal involving the victims — Todd Klarkowski, 42, of Boulder, Colo.; Richard Lewin, 46, of Huntington, N.Y.; and former Sebastopol resident Raleigh Butler, 24.
The defendants fled but were all captured out of state and brought to Sonoma County for prosecution. Only Cappello — the suspected shooter — is charged with special circumstances that could bring the death penalty if he is convicted.
In court Thursday, he sat apart from his two co-defendants, who chatted amiably before the judge took the bench.
The judge asked prosecutor Traci Carrillo Thursday if her office had decided whether it will seek capital punishment, which is reserved for the worst crimes. Carrillo told the judge that decision is "still under discussion."
An announcement about that could come after the preliminary hearing, she said.
Detectives believe the killings happened when Klarkowski and Lewin — alleged partners in the drug trade — crossed state lines to buy a large quantity of pot from Butler.
All three were instead killed in a house rented by Butler's mother, who wasn't home at the time.
It remains unclear how Cappello and the Dwyers are alleged to have become involved. A grouping of the six men met at a Sebastopol restaurant the night before, a sheriff's spokesman said.
Cappello is believed to have shot the three men with a .45-caliber pistol.
Detectives used surveillance camera footage from a gas station to track him and the other suspects. Cappello was arrested during a traffic stop on Interstate 10 in Alabama and Odin Dwyer was picked up in Colorado. Francis Dwyer was held in his own state and fought extradition to California.
Francis Dwyer's lawyer, Walter Rubenstein, said Thursday his client was not present at the slayings. Rubenstein said he was at a hotel in the Santa Rosa area, caring for an Irish Setter dog.
His role was to transport marijuana, Rubenstein said.
"He did not sign up for what happened," Rubenstein said. "He wasn't part of the killing."
(You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)